Monthly Archives: November 2012

November 30, 2012

The Most Fun We’ve Had Building Local Business Website

J&J Winery and Big Dawg Brewhaus have a brand new home on the web.  J&J is a premiere Indiana winery and the only combination winery and craft brewery in Indiana.

The reason the project has been so fun is we were allowed a lot of creative freedom and were encouraged to let loose on the site for a look and feel that fits what J&J is all about.

J&J Winery Front Page

We were able to add some cool features with their event calendar and reservations due to some very neat new plugins for WordPress which allowed us to incorporate them nicely into the design.

Function and form together:

richmond winery

Another atypical aspect of this build was adding a business-within-a-business page for the Big Dawg Brewhaus.  The brewery got to have its own design on its page (click image to visit):

indiana brewery

For larger re-design projects like this, there are a lot of moving parts.  And when you get to the marketing and visibility campaign, it gets to be even more fun.  When a local business has a rich product line like J&J, the job of marketing is, overall, a lot easier because we have so much to talk about and promote.

J&J has award-winning wines (see video), for instance, which makes social and search marketing easier.  They do all kinds of events throughout the year including weddings, wine tastings, beer tastings, fundraisers, live music, you name it.  Again, all that activity makes for a fun, active marketing campaign, especially through their social networks.

Then, add an award-winning Indiana micro brewery with "buzz" coming in from all over the Midwest about the quality and care that goes into their brews.  The events and announcements that are generated in a year just from the brewery alone make for additional points of engagement with the J&J Winery subscribers and social fan base.

Last but not least is their wood-fired pizza.  From my perspective, having "specialized" in trying any and all wood oven pizzas whenever I have a chance all over the country, J&J Winery pizzas are world-class.

Together, the highlights of this business form a tsunami of good times, great tastes, and beautiful location.

We invite you to check out the site!

November 29, 2012

Richmond Website Design

richmond indiana website designWe love working on our home turf in Richmond, Indiana.  The local business websites we design all have the same purpose:  to get results for our clients.

Yes, a website must be aesthetically pleasing and have all the latest tools for search, social sharing, and easy content management.  But at the end of the day, we teach our clients that even if a site had horrible design and navigation, yet was somehow able to bring in more leads and customers than a "pretty" site - always go for the ugly and profitable!

Fortunately, our clients in Richmond and across the country don't have to skimp on looks OR performance.  Beautiful websites that attract targeted leads and customers through search and social... that's what we build.  We call them "marketing platforms" rather than websites.

Many of the sites we've designed in the Wayne County, Richmond Indiana area are available for review in our portfolio.  From real estate to plumbing and HVAC, to dental, nonprofits, contractors, and many other industries, Brick Road Media continues to broaden our experience with all types of designs and marketing opportunities for local businesses here and all over the U.S.

We'd like to take this opportunity to thank our clients, past and present, for a great first year!

And we can't wait to work with many more local businesses in 2013.  Whether on straight web designs, re-designs, or working on your ongoing digital marketing tasks, we're here to soup up your results and help you take advantage of a remarkable time in history to capitalize on everything the web has to offer local businesses!

Next:  101 Ways To Get More Local Customers

November 21, 2012

Why The Internet Matters So Much To Your Local Business

Word Cloud for This Article

There are mountains of statistics that should give any small business owner pause with regard to the importance of the internet.  Here's just one piece of evidence:

"Consumers are using a combination of search engines and social media before making a purchasing decision, a new study by GroupM Search and comScore finds.

In fact, 58% of respondents first turned to search engines such as Google and Bing, while 24% visited company sites, and a mere 18% went to social media, according to a study called "The Virtuous Circle: the Role of Search and Social Media in the Purchase Pathway". During the purchase process, 48% of shoppers used a combination of search and social media, the study found."  Information Week, Consumers Combine Search, Social Media For Buying Decisions

The old days of search engine optimization are over.  SEO used to be easier for small business because you could afford to be more passive in your marketing efforts.

Today, you have to be moving - constantly - to get good search engine rankings and direct traffic from other sites and social networks.  This isn't such good news for local business owners, because it means internet marketing cannot be phoned in any longer.

We encourage our clients to take active roles in their social media and content marketing campaigns as much as possible.  Even when we're hired to do the heavy lifting.  It is simply no longer possible for any site on the web to rank by putting up "brochure sites" and including a few keywords on their pages, getting a few links, and letting the rankings fall where they may.

The upside - and it is huge - is that there is far more opportunity for targeted traffic, lead generation, and increased profits today than ever before.

Social media offers a plethora of opportunities to connect with new customers and keep the old ones coming back.

Search simply relies on the activity generated by social and various link-building techniques to rank sites.  All Google wants to see is an active presence on the web.  They watch whether or not people are "voting" for your site with links, Likes, Tweets, and +1's.  Also reviews on local places listings.

None of that happens without an active campaign of content marketing (blogging new content regularly) and social engagement signals that prove to Google that what you're doing is relevant and well-liked by your target market.

It's simple, really.  There are a lot of moving parts and technical stuff to know about, which makes having a firm who knows what they're doing no longer an optional thing.  Not for a business that wants to grow.

We'll keep teaching methods for getting attention from local search and social here on the Brick Road blog.  If you have the time to follow our lead, it would be well worth the effort.

Everyone is online and the tiny fraction of old school newspaper readers is fading fast.  Online marketing simply has to be made a permanent and serious focus for every small business.

There's almost all the potential for local business growth and customer retention lies on the internet today.

Ask us how to get involved in your business' future.  The competition is already making its moves.

November 21, 2012

Reynolds Plumbing Gets A New Website!

Reynolds Plumbing is a family-owned and operated plumbing and hvac services company based in Richmond, Indiana.  On this build we focused on local search and optimization as we do for all our local, small business clients.

The new design is an upgrade from an old site for Reynolds Plumbing.

Their social media presence was also upgraded and optimized, and we're working on their local and global search optimization now.

Follow Reynolds Plumbing on Facebook

November 20, 2012

Check out this great Chrome app: tldr

Here's a great way to consume information quickly and use it to keep your fans and followers engaged and happy to follow your updates on Facebook, Twitter, Google+ or LinkedIn.

Small business owners and their staff are busy people.  But you know if you don't update your social media streams regularly, you don't get much engagement or traffic from your fans and followers.

How do you keep up on all the information you'd like to follow, quickly consume, and share around to keep your brand top-of-mind?  You become and Information Overlord and use neat tools like this one:

November 19, 2012

Responsive Web Design Replaces Need For Multiple Versions Of Your Website

website ideas

website ideas (Photo credit: Sean MacEntee)

Before you go off and buy yourself a mobile web site, take a moment to consider why you need to in the first place.

The main reason most people pay for a mobile site is because they need something to quickly and inexpensively pick up all the traffic they are losing from mobile users.  Yes, losing.

If someone cannot make heads or tails of your website on their mobile device (because your site is designed for the big screen) they simply leave.  They aren't sad.  They feel no remorse.

They just know one of your competitors has either got a mobile version of their site or a responsive website that looks good no matter what device they are using to view it.

Local businesses who have spent a lot of money on their website recently, but it wasn't built for all screens, still have sticker shock and usually go for a cheap mobile version of their site.  Not a bad idea until you can catch up with the times a bit later when your budget allows.

But if your business is due for a completely updated site (i.e. you had yours done pre-2010) then you don't need to worry about mobile sites at all.

Today's most advanced sites are called responsive because they are built to perform well on any screen.  From cell phones to tablets, laptops, and desktops.

Check out this cool tool that will show you what a responsive site is supposed to do on each type of device.  (You can even load your site and see how it looks on different screens.)

Here's are some examples of responsive sites.  Take a look at them on your phone.  You will see that they load quickly and resize themselves in different ways to fit the screen they are being viewed with.

The jury is still out just how and when responsive design is going become the default in web design.  Lots of people are still building mobile sites and will for awhile yet.   That's because well over 50% of Facebook users are using their phones to interact on Facebook.

Meaning, if you just posted a link to your site on your Facebook business page, over 50% of your "Fans" are going to be clicking the link on their phones.  What will they see when they get there?  Scary to think about the wasted traffic and business.

If its time for a new design of your local business site, and you want to be as forward compatible as possible while serving every precious visitor with a smooth experience, you should ask about building a responsive site.

For further information on responsive design, check out "4 Points That Make Responsive Design Worthwhile"

November 15, 2012

Brick Road Welcomes Focus Insurance Services To The Family

Focus Insurance Services has a new website!  With offices in Osgood, Portland, and Cambridge City, Indiana, Focus Insurance Services provides Life and Health insurance to local communities.

Our "Focus" was to give Focus Insurance a new look and updated visitor engagement tools such as social buttons, a blog for news updates, and a quote request form.

life and health insurance osgood indiana

If you are in the Cambridge City, Portland, Brookville, or Osgood, Indiana areas, contact the pros at Focus Insurance to get a quote or update your insurance coverage today!

November 15, 2012

Pinterest Adds Business Pages

We knew it was coming sooner or later.  You can now sign up for a business account on Pinterest (or convert your personal account).

Here are the latest stories and how-to information on getting your local business set up with a business account on Pinterest:

It's amazing how many blogs and articles are going up today on this topic.
The reason is that Pinterest holds the record for the fastest growing site on the web.
If you're not there, you're missing connections with customers who are!
More Pinterest and other tips at 101 Ways To Get More Local Customers
November 15, 2012

Internet Marketing For Local Business

internet marketing for local business

We're proud to announce our new report "Your Business Can Kick A-- In 2013:  Digital Marketing Secrets You Must Know"

The report is chock-full of local internet marketing tips you can use to grow your online presence through social media and local search.

Download the report for free from our front page!